Tips And Tricks For Measuring Barrel Length

Posted by Frankie Chan on 14th May 2024

Picture of the barrel and muzzle of a gun

Firearms enthusiasts know that precision shooting lies not only in practice and good technique, but also in understanding the intricacies of their weapons. While all parts of a weapon are uniquely important for a firearm's performance, a gun’s barrel length remains one of the most critical factors concerning accuracy. So whether you're a seasoned marksman or a novice enthusiast, knowing how to measure the barrel length of your firearm is essential to understanding how it will perform. In this guide, we'll delve into the importance of barrel length, methods of measuring it, and other tricks to get the job done. 

The Importance Of Barrel Length 

The length of a gun’s barrel is crucial in determining a weapon's performance, accuracy, and overall functionality. Whether it's a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, the length of the barrel plays a significant role in various aspects of shooting, including muzzle velocity, recoil control, and maneuverability. 

Understanding the effect barrel length has on a weapon is key for firearm enthusiasts and professionals alike, as it directly correlates to the effectiveness and usability of different firearms in various shooting scenarios. Take a look to see tips for how to measure barrel length so you can know what to expect from a firearm and what barrel lengths work best for you and your shooting style.

Picture of a rifle barrel pointed forward

Measuring Techniques 

Measuring the barrel of a firearm can be as simple or complicated as you are willing to make it. Nevertheless, accurate measurements require attention to detail, patience, and proper technique. Here, we provide three standard methods of how to measure barrel length commonly used by both professionals and enthusiasts. 

Overall Barrel Length Measurement 

Measuring the overall barrel length is the most generalized type of barrel measurement. This measurement is typically taken by measuring the entire length of the barrel from the breech face (where the cartridge is seated) to the muzzle (the open end of the barrel). Depending on the weapon's size, several tools can be used, although the most commonly used are tape measures, rulers, or yardsticks. This measurement is helpful to get a ballpark idea about the length if you’re in a pinch. 

Bore Measurement 

For a more accurate calculation of a barrel length, it is necessary to take a bore measurement. However, measuring barrel length this way requires extra tools such as a cleaning rod, bore gauge, or wooden dowel on hand. To measure, take your cleaning rod and insert it down into the barrel until it hits the breech face. Next, mark the cleaning rod where it protrudes out of the muzzle. Then, take the rod out of the barrel and, using a measuring device, measure from the end of the rod that was touching the breech face and your mark on the rod to get a true barrel length measurement. 


Finally, the chamber-to-crown methodology finds a firearm’s barrel length by measuring from where the cartridge is inserted (the chamber) to the last point of contact between the bullet and barrel when fired (the crown). This measurement is helpful in determining how the length of a barrel may affect the accuracy and distance a firearm is capable of shooting. 

Tips For Measuring A Barrel Length Accurately

Getting a barrel length measurement may sound relatively straightforward, and it is if you don’t care about being precise. However, if you are looking for a true measurement of your weapon’s barrel, here are some tips on how to measure it accurately. 

  • Use high-quality measuring tools such as calipers, rulers, or bore gauges to achieve accurate results.
  • Take multiple measurements from different points along the barrel and calculate the average to account for any inconsistencies.
  • Maintain proper alignment and positioning of the measuring tool to avoid skewed or inaccurate barrel length measurements.
  • Clean the barrel thoroughly before taking measurements to remove any debris or fouling that may interfere with the process.
  • Exercise caution and handle firearms safely during the measurement process to prevent accidents or damage to the weapon.

Although not knowing the exact length of a firearm’s barrel down to the millimeter is not a requirement for precise shooting, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Having a deep knowledge of your weapon is important for safety and progression as a marksman. It’s beneficial to have a solid understanding of barrel length to learn what works best for you so you can make the right purchases and decisions. 

If you're shopping for firearms and firearm-related supplies, look no further than Wing Tactical. We offer a collection of gun parts and accessories from industry-leading manufacturers that will get the job done. Shop online or contact us today to answer your questions.